DESOTO — City Council Candidate Nicole Raphiel is self-employed and has lived in DeSoto for more than 20 years. The University of Texas grad says she hopes to bring a fresh, inquisitive approach to the council’s decision making process. Raphiel, 47, granted Focus Daily News an interview where she outlined her goals for DeSoto’s District 3.
What are your goals for the remainder of your term if you win?
My goals for the remainder of the term will be to work hard with integrity and inclusiveness in resolving Place 3 issues. I will put neighborhoods first through regular Place 3 forums . After careful vetting and inspection of possible business development deals, I would thoughtfully support economic incentives that strengthen our community’s ability to attract sound business.
Practicing fiscal responsibility and restraint will be at the forefront of my decision making. Now that our police force has increased, I would advocate for focused neighborhood patrols, particularly at the major intersections during peak student pedestrian commute times.
Finally, tell the DeSoto, TX story better. I will advocate for the hiring of a Marketing Manager this year. It’s vital that we tell our story better to promote our city better.
Why do you feel you are the best person for the job?
Because DeSoto is home for me, I am committed and passionate about our city’s ability to not just thrive but excel to our full potential. I have maintained my involvement with the community as the Board Chair for the Park Development Corporation Board.
The Board’s responsibility includes overseeing funds designated to be used for improving and developing our parks through the 4-B sales tax, overseeing Park and Recreation master planning and raising funds through issuance of bonds, notes, or other debt instruments, and matching funds from the TX Parks and Wildlife Department.
Since being on the board, the community has approved bond funds to make park land improvements. I’ve served on the Board since 2013. As a result of this service, my insights are unique and clear.
I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.
How long have you lived in DeSoto?
I have been a DeSoto homeowner since 1997. All three of my now adult children were raised here. The attraction to DeSoto was its suburban charm, family atmosphere, friendly neighbors and proximity to my church. I am a native Texan.
Expanding DeSoto’s Economic Footprint
Since this is a Special Election, it is important that informed neighbors share this with the uninformed. DeSoto, has 27,000 + registered voters. The last election was decided by only 2,080 voters. Every vote matters. Encourage five people to vote.
Regarding the city, DeSoto is sandwiched between retail development in Cedar Hill, TX and newer restaurants along the I-35 corridor in Lancaster, TX. Our strongest assets are our family and entertainment special events, recreation center, senior center, Corner Theater, sports leagues/tournaments and parks.
Expanding our capacity to be the entertainment, sports and leisure hub for the Best Southwest would give us distinct opportunities to grow our retail base and increase our hotel occupancy.
This opportunity will not only give our young people and seniors more options for leisure, it would be an attraction for families in surrounding cities. I will advocate for the long-term implementation of the Park, Recreation, Open Space & Trails Master Plan.
With regard to retail development, like many residents, I feel overwhelmed with the lack of shopping diversity. Even more so with the volume of the similar types/brand of stores. Planning for our distinction will give us more opportunities for diverse retail and dining options. We would, thereby, tell our story.
Have you held any other city offices in your past?
I have not held public office. However, I was appointed by the DeSoto City Council to serve on the Park Development Corporation. I am currently the Board Chair.
What are some of the biggest changes you would like to make this term?
Engagement – During my term, I would advocate to for greater engagement. I would like to capitalize on the fact that more people participate and attend our community celebrations than a city council, board meetings, town hall and planning sessions. I would like to use those opportunities to engage more on the important matters.
What are some of the biggest challenges you believe you will face?
Any challenges presented will afford me the opportunity to advocate for a creative and forward-thinking solution.
When And Where To Vote
Early voting will be January 22-30 at Disciple Central Community Church, located at 901 N. Polk Street. Election Day voting will be held at DeSoto ISD Belt Line Conference Center located at 200 East Belt Line Road on February 3, 2018.